‘Do good’ to cling to the freedoms we all enjoy
“Live as people who are free.” (1 Pt 2:16).
Now there’s a Bible verse that belongs on a coffee cup. You know, the sturdy kind; the kind of cup you can drop on the job, the kind of container you can use as a car block while you change the oil, the kind of canister that your retired union carpenter grandpa can get his calloused mits all the way around and inside the handle, gripping it like the handle of his old Disston handsaw as he sips his morning brew. Whew, thanks for going all the way with me with that one.
Freedom is as basic to our culture as sweets are to Sweetheart Bakery. Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain is our state motto for sweet’s sake. From the most stalwart anti-vax “don’t tread on me” libertarian to the most fact-checked and well-resourced progressive vaccine advocate, every single one of us yearns to be free. We were made to be free. So it makes sense that we not only like the idea of freedom, but that we also kinda want to cling to its practical benefits.
But clinging to a vague notion of human freedom will not do. Not even in Clinton, Iowa where the heat of political division and viral chaos seems to be a little cooler than places like Florida or New York. The thing is, we can still feel the heat of our broader cultural kitchen. And if we don’t understand the principles of cooking we will never cook anything worth eating, and therefore will not have much motivation to withstand the heat of the stove.
So if I may, I’d like to offer a principle from the Bible that we should be putting into practice in order to cling to freedom. That principle is simply this: Do good. Peter says that doing good puts to silence the ignorance of foolish people (1 Pt 2:15). Wouldn’t that be nice right about now.
I know there’s a lot of debate about what freedoms we should cling to and what actually is the definition of “doing good”. But let me just say this: It’s a lot easier to complain about the loss of muhfreedoms than it is to actually cling to our freedoms. That is to say, it’s a lot easier to talk the negative talk than it is to walk the good walk.
Instead of just complaining about the loss of practical freedoms in the spheres of work, family, and religion, cling to the free exercise of those freedoms by doing good and using your freedom to build a work, family, and religious life worth clinging to.
By applying this principle of freedom to what matters most we will be well prepared for the day when those freedoms are challenged, because in the words of Samwise Gamge, we will know that “there is some good in this world that is worth fighting for.”
Nicholas Powell, Clinton